Judge Carmen Lucía Antunes of the Supreme Court of Brazil has approved the initiation of an investigation against the Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles for alleged crimes of obstructing environmental inspections and preventing investigations involving a criminal organization, as well as another administrative proceeding.
The attorney general’s office had requested the opening of an investigation into the minister and other officials for interfering in the investigation of the largest logging in history in the Amazon region in “Operation Handroanthus”.
The judge has argued that the facts gathered by the Attorney General’s Office “may configure criminal practices whose materiality and authorship need to be investigated,” the Brazilian media report G1.
According to the judge’s judgment, the investigations are aimed at finding out “the truthfulness and authorship” of the events cited in the federal police’s criminal report against the minister and are “essential”.
Carmen Lucía Antunes also approved the guidelines proposed by the Attorney General’s Office, including obtaining testimony from the Minister, landowners and inspectors from the Brazilian Environmental Institute (Ibama) and the police, as well as a digital copy of the proceedings and investigations related to environmental crime.
It has also set a deadline of 30 days for these proposals to be fulfilled and the investigations to be completed.
In this way, Salles faces a second investigation before the Brazilian Supreme Court since Judge Alexandre de Moraes approved Operation Akuanduba, which began in January, against the minister and other senior officials and businessmen in an irregular plot in the export of Wood.